Dr. Christian Reiner, Senior Researcher at LBS, was invited to join a research group on “Oligopoly, Stagnation and Power” at the Vienna University of Economics and Business. The research group consists of approx. ten economic researchers from different institutional backgrounds aiming to explore possible futures of capitalism while taking into account the rising concentration in a large number of markets, the resulting higher power of firms, slow economic growth and the possible relationships between these phenomena. Internet companies such as Google or Facebook were especially but not exclusively able to dominate global industries. These developments are not just a problem for other, less powerful firms and customers, but also for society and democracy. Economic history demonstrates that sooner or later countervailing powers may emerge and challenge the influence of large and politically influential corporations.

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Credits: US Census Bureau, The Economist

Four meetings in this summer term will be devoted to the discussion of scientific papers written by the members of the research group.  Dr. Reiner will present a paper on the determinants and trends of rising corporate power within the last two decades. The paper is co-authored with Christian Bellak, professor at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, Institute for Economic Policy and Industrial Economics. One of the interesting questions from a public policy point of view is how society can enjoy gains from the existence of large firms (such as economies scale or research and development) without the risk of being exploited by the very same multinational companies.

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